It’s a jungle out there…and sometimes I love it!
One thing that I have found really helpful with my anxiety is surrounding myself with people, images and ideas that contribute to self acceptance. It’s really easy to feel weird, different or loser-ish. (Sorry Ms Pat, ‘like a loser’. I know I’m not s’posed to add ish to make new words.)
I realized that for a long time, much of what I was absorbing with regards to the media, was contrary to who I truly am. I’m not cool in that way but I used to feel like I have to be something I’m not because everyone I see and hear was like that. That just didn’t/doesn’t work for me.
That said, I always feel better about myself and my anxieties, when I see people like myself living with their own anxieties. In their own way. Which brings me to Mr Monk.
Someone once told me over a decade ago that I reminded them of Mr Monk. At the time, I was offended (How very dare you!). Was he trying to call me crazy? Now, I’ve come around to appreciating Mr Monk and seeing my own mental health issues projected onto him. Honestly, when I am going through a mental episode, it is ANYTHING BUT hilarious. Still, I find it a little more okay to be myself when I watch shows with what Netflix calls love-able outcasts. Like Mr Monk.
Mr Monk had OCD and a ton of phobias, which became a lot worse after the death of his wife. The show was always a mixture of humor and empathy in each episode. Who haven’t crossed the street because of the person next to you on the phone, or looked at the address on an envelope numerous times, or worried about whether your mail will end up at the correct address. I am very sure that I’ve left a similar impression on many people in many places around NYC.
It’s okay to be different. And characters like that make it okay. REPRESENTATION MATTERS! As a black man, I know this all too well. As a black man who often doesn’t see himself in images of other black men, its hard to be yourself, when you seem to only exist within your own skin. When you are dealing with some sort of mental illness, it’s not just being quirky. It’s your reality. And it was always real with Mr. Monk. I know the show ended but I felt his pain in every episode. It was looking at yourself and laughing. Laughing at myself. I think I’m allowed to have that. Right Community’s Troy Barnes?
When I was 9, I learned about protecting the gates of your soul from attacks of the enemy in Sunday school. My teacher told us that the things you let into your eye gate, ear gate, etc influences and makes you the person that you are. I try to remember that ‘Normal’ can be whatever I think it is. I try to make sure that I spend time letting in images that are more than empty copies of what can be a superficial and consumerist culture. I try to take in people who are unique, different and being their honest selves. I feel encouraged to do the same. Watchu say Chewing Gum’s Tracey Gordon?
When I’m too fixated on popular culture, the fame clans or social media facades, it changes how I see myself. I feel like there is a version of myself that I am supposed to be in order to be black or successful or cool or social.
For those of us navigating the jungle outside our front door, there may as well be lions, tigers and bears! A healthy dose of love-able outcasts is good for the soul. It reminds me that the things that make me different also make me special. (<–derivative > corny) And our time has finally come. Do you have anything to add New Girl’s Winston Bishop?
Thank you Winston! Be your best weird self!